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Ringing on TV

All Saints ringers recently had the opportunity to welcome a BBC TV crew to the tower. When the presenter of the sport slot on BBC Breakfast, Mike Bushell, heard about ringing he was keen to do a piece on it. He is passionate about encouraging people to be active and has tried and presented over 350 different forms of sport (a record according to Wikipedia). He’s always been fascinated by the sound of ringing and wanted to find out what it was like.

In case you had never thought of ringing as having a ‘sport’ dimension, it does in fact fit very well with the widely used definition of sport as: ‘all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels’. Of course, ringing is a lot more than that, notably a form of music, which is what makes it so special.

On Monday 15th March we welcomed Mike and his cameraman Ian to our practice. In the afternoon they filmed outside and inside, including the splendid view from the roof and the size of the bells, and Mike got an hour or so of hands-on training.

After a meal break in The Ship (which sponsored ringing competitions in the late 1700s) we joined the other ringers gathering for the practice, much of which was given over to filming, which included Mike being taken through the teaching process, typical exercises we do with the learners and examples of normal ringing. We were filmed from all angles: close up, wide shot, looking down from above, looking up from the nave and seeing the bells themselves in action.

Mike spent a lot of the time interviewing individuals, from young recruits to long standing members, to capture not just ‘what’ we do, but why we do it, what makes us so keen and why ringing is so special.

By the time you read this the result will have been broadcast – four times on 13th April, nominally at 6.40, 7.40, 8.40 & 9.40 on BBC1 – a short 3 minute stream of vignettes that give an impression of what ringing is like. You should still be able to view it online on the BBC website.

John Harrison (April 2019) 

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